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Jerry Shenk


So Many Questions, So Little Time

by Jerry Shenk
 

Occasionally, critical readers have objected more angrily to questions in columns than to the actual opinions. It's puzzling.

Doesn't everyone have sound factual and/or logical foundations for their viewpoints and the intellectual confidence to respond to reasonable inquiries?

Why do some people who eagerly offer strong political or cultural opinions become angry and refuse to respond to questions or requests for expansion, clarification, references or hard data?

What's controversial about simple inquiries or threatening about honest disagreement? Shouldn't a free society tolerate a wide variety of opinion and speech, especially on controversial issues? In a country of about 320 million people, if only one or two anecdotes are offered to "prove" an argument, how many similar anecdotes are needed to create real data? Is that number reduced by how politically-correct or emotionally-charged narrators consider their anecdote(s) to be?

Is smug, but otherwise-unsupportable "certainty" actually a defense mechanism? Are subject-changing, vulgarities, mockery, name-calling, silly repetition and witless sarcasm honest forms of debate? Are words such as "obvious" and "settled science" condescendingly overused by people who cannot adequately articulate their views?
Answer these:

Where is the middle ground in the term "1 percent vs. 99 percent?" Don't most Americans fall somewhere in the middle?

How does Internal Revenue Service abuse of conservative groups square with a view of government as "benevolent?" Because the IRS singled them out, can grassroots groups such as Tea Parties really be irrelevant or dead, or do establishment politicians, bureaucrats and media who dislike and/or fear the grassroots just wish they were?

Would President Barack Obama's foreign policy have been more coherent, aggressive and successful if all of our foreign enemies were conservative Americans?

If fashion designers can boycott Melania Trump, why shouldn't Christian bakers and florists be allowed to boycott gay weddings? Is the right of free association reserved exclusively for liberals? Other than "whatever we say," does "social justice" still have any intrinsic meaning for the left?

Are eighty-plus government programs really necessary to aid the disadvantaged? How are bureaucratically-managed government social programs superior to working nuclear and extended families, friends, concerned neighbors, community centers, local charities, churches and organizations which aid struggling people or other places people connect and interact?

Why does government measure means-tested programs by how much money is spent on them and how many people are enrolled rather than by how many recipients were encouraged and enabled by them to escape dependency and live responsible, productive, independent lives?

How, exactly, will poverty in America be cured by giving amnesty to millions of poor, unskilled illegal aliens?

If America defaults, will government dependents who helped institutionalize an unsustainable welfare state through the ballot box suffer the consequences quietly? Or will there be a public backlash from angry, "entitled" former beneficiaries of government largesse?

When questions upset you, have you considered the possibility that your anger and frustration are fed only by an embarrassing inability to answer them to your own, much less to the satisfaction of others?

http://www.ldnews.com/story/opinion/2017/01/06/opinion-so-many-questions-so-little-time/96239850/


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